Lucifer Season 4: A hugely fun return for this devilish crime series
James R | On 27, May 2019
This is a spoiler-lite review of Lucifer Season 4.
Lucifer. The story of the lord of hell, the original fallen angel, who gives it all up to go and run a nightclub in LA. Oh, and help the police solve crimes. It’s a show that in its very DNA is goofily absurd, and wilfully illogical – and as it returns for a fourth season, revived post-cancellation by Netflix, that impossible, unlikely mix of ingredients wins you over with a dark charm all of its own.
That dark charm is in no small part thanks to Tom Ellis, who plays Mr. Morningstar with a playful grin, naughty wink and no end of handsome clothes. He showcases all of that in a handy recap video for newcomers to the show. By now, he knows exactly what Lucifans want, and so do the show’s makers – it’s barely 10 minutes into the first episode before we get to see his bottom. But while the first three seasons have seen him settle into an enjoyable groove, Season 4 mixes the tune up literally, as his usual piano-and-vocal sessions in his nightclub, LUX, give way to an endless repeat of him playing Creep by Radiohead. It’s a sad, painful wail that lets Ellis really bring a new side of Lucifer to the screen – the mopey side.
Season 4, you see, picks up a month after Season 3’s conclusion (not counting those additional bonus episodes), and Detective Decker (Lauren German) has disappeared entirely, after finally seeing his “Devil Face”. She’s taken her daughter, Trixie (Scarlett Estevez), with her too, leaving Lucifer wondering if he’ll ever see her again, and if she’ll ever accept him for who he is.
Acceptance is a big part of Lucifer, which roots most of its human drama and romantic tension in the ability of each character to embrace the people around them without judgement. After three seasons coyly teasing Chloe clocking who Lucifer actually is, it’s a relief to have her properly awake to the reality, allowing both her and Lucey to move on as characters. At first, we get a tease of what it might be like having them in sync – “Maybe it is kind of fun being in the know,” she whispers to him, as he delights in showing off his tricks to her, but this time without holding back. But their relationship soon takes a much more dramatic turn, not just because of her having to accept him, but him having to accept himself.
Both of those are explored with the introduction of two key new characters. First up is Father Kinley, a priest from Rome who warns of a prophecy involving Lucifer and his dangerous destiny. Played by Outlander’s Graham McTavish with a brilliant mix of growing threat and righteous conviction, he’s a fantastically untrustworthy addition to the ensemble, trying to push Chloe and Lucey apart for his own nefarious ends. Equally promising is the arrival of Eve – yes, that Eve – who has gotten bored in heaven and wants to have some fun with the tempter who previously made her life more exciting. Played by Inbar Lavi with a wide-eyed innocence, she brings a whole new dynamic to the series; she’s a bad influence on Lucey, as she encourages his evil thirst for punishment, but is also too naive to truly get on anyone’s nerves, which means you’re never sure in which direction any conversation is headed.
The other existing characters also get a welcome shake-up in routine, with forensics nerd Ella Lopez (the irrepressible Aimee Garcia) and Det. “Douche” Dan (Kevin Alejandro) both struggling to get over the death of Charlotte in Season 3 – the former by skipping church hitting substances hard, the latter by exploring his darker side with Mazikeen (Lesley-Ann Brandt). Maze, meanwhile, finds herself in search of the kind of connection Eve apparently has with Lucifer, while also realising that she may never have the same bond again with Chloe or Trixie – a nice chance for Brandt, who has long been an MVP, to play vulnerable as well as bad-ass. Two people who definitely do have a connection are Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside) are Dr. Linda (Rachael Harris), who find their relationship taking an unexpected turn, one that leaves Amenadiel contemplating where exactly his home is – on the one side, he wants to be near Linda and Luce, but on the other, finds his sense of safety rocked by an encounter with the cops, after befriending a local black teenager.
If all of that sounds like a lot to squeeze into a season, you’re not wrong, but Lucifer juggles each strand without feeling rushed or cramped. In fact, where previous seasons have felt baggy and occasionally repetitive, the reduced episode count (there are 10 chapters here) makes for a much tighter narrative overall, still finding time for case-of-the-week hijinks (avocado honey, nudist camps, reality TV satire and more) but without losing momentum. There are some occasional slips – one throwaway gag with a dancer in LUX sticks out as ill-judged – but they’re made up for by an impressively bigger budget, which gives Lucey’s make-up team a real chance to spread their wings. By the time the prophecy brings us to a fairly predictable but satisfying conclusion, you’ll find yourself surprisingly swept up in Lucey’s journey of self-forgiveness (Ellis even gets a fun dance number), Chloe’s reasoning with her place in the show’s mythology (German’s Decker has rarely felt so fleshed out), Amenadiel’s understanding of his personal priorities (Woodside’s brother could almost have a spin-off of his own), Dan and Ella’s shared trauma (the show has a commendable throughline of talking about problems), and Maze, Eve and Linda’s ever-growing friendship and sense of self-worth.
Things wrap up on a faintly bittersweet note that could leave things neatly as they are, while still opening up potential for a fifth season. Either way, this, you feel, is Lucifer better than it has ever been, or rather, Lucifer at the best it can be; a gloriously daft, hugely fun bit of nonsense that’s confidently found its tone. If you weren’t a Lucifan before, this may well make a believer out of you.
Lucifer: Season 4 is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £9.99 monthly subscription. Season 1 to 3 are available on Amazon Prime Video, as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription.